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10 Must-Have Art Supplies for Unlimited Crafts with Kids (Part I)

2013-01-11 by Melissa & Doug

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Arts & Crafts activities can provide endless hours of creative fun for children. But many parents often wonder: what art supplies do I really need to keep in my craft closet?

We recommend starting out with the basics. Once you have a few fundamentals, your child will have plenty of inspiration to explore and create wonderful crafts! Finding more wall space for their masterpieces? We leave that up to you.


Here’s Part 1 of our “Top 10 Must Have Art Supplies” List

  1. Paper
    With so many different paper choices, are you wondering “What’s the difference?” Here are some quick tips: Specialty papers are designed for a particular medium or purpose. Examples: Finger Paint Paper is thicker and absorbs more liquid than regular paper so that the paper won’t warp; Construction paper is thicker than writing paper, etc.
  2. Color it!
    Stock up on PLENTY of crayons, colored pencils and/or markers. Just providing drawing paper and colored pencils can usually spark your child’s creativity.
    TIP: If your child gets stuck on what to draw,  try some “starters.” Starters are a drawing (or start of a drawing) or an object applied to a piece of paper to help get a child’s creative juices flowing. Examples would be drawing a tree trunk, the start of a face, outline of an object, or gluing an object such as a piece of ribbon or a plastic gem onto the paper.  The “starter” becomes a point of inspiration!
  3. Paint
    Choose watercolors, poster paint (tempera) or finger paint. Or, make your own paint by combining powdered tempera with water! For extra sensory fun (or for very little ones) you might explore painting with pudding on a tray or painting with colored shaving cream (shaving cream plus a few drops food coloring mixed together.)
  4. Stickers Stickers Stickers
    What jazzes up an art project better than stickers? With so many themes to choose from, you can never have too many stickers or run out of ways to use them. Keep plenty in your craft area including the ones that come free in the mail. Stickers make great “starters” too (see above).

10 must have art supplies sticker pad play

photo via @angehayden

  • Get Attached to Creativity – Glue and Tape
    Nothing adds excitement to a child’s art project like letting him use glue or tape! Cover an area with glue and add texture with household items – anything from buttons to colored sugar. Or, create a collage  from magazine photos your child has cut out. Try masking tape for creating interesting patterns: apply masking tape to construction paper in any pattern, paint, and then remove the tape. Use clear tape for repairs, but also for paper construction projects.

What are the top Arts & Crafts supplies in your house? Leave your favorites in the comments below, or join the conversation with us on Facebook!

Click here to learn about the next 10 must have art supplies!

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Melissa & Doug

Our team of play experts occasionally enjoys sharing news about our company, new product launches, and some of the #CountlessWaysToPlay with our toys, crafts, and games. At Melissa & Doug, we’re on a mission to inspire the innovators of tomorrow through kid-powered play!

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